Mapping sustainability is about generating ontology of ‘sustainable development’ according to some select principles. When completed, the ontology consists of key features of ‘sustainable development’ that are integrated into a coherent knowledge system. Our approach to the mapping process consists of:
(a) Organizing the content of types of human activities and framing these in terms of different domains of human activity – from the most general level of aggregation to the most specific granularity for individual components or components manifestations thereof;
(b) Defining the dimensions of human activity, in terms of problems generated by human activities as well as the solutions to date.
(c) Capturing the interconnections (or intersections) within and between domains and dimensions.
(d) Creating an integrated system that pulls all of the individual pieces together.
(e) Incorporating coordinated international actions which includes domains and dimensions and provides an overarching context for collaboration but does not conform to the structural logic above. The reason is that individual forms and types of international agreements may cover a range of topics (core concepts) or a range of elements across the nested system of relationships.
The full-ontology is a multidimensional representation of sustainable development – specifying domain, dimension, and intersections of human activities.